A grand retreat for the golden years: Former hotel sold by Witnesses to become extravagant elder housing

Opportunity knocks! Jehovah’s Witnesses selling old Brooklyn Heights hotel
Watchtower Realty

It’s a suite deal for seniors!

The new owners of a lavish former hotel in Brooklyn Heights will convert the property into the borough’s first luxury senior-living complex, according to reps for the buyers who purchased the building from the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The religious organization on Wednesday announced the sale of its 16-story building at Clark and Willow streets to Florida-based investment group Kayne Anderson Real Estate Advisors, which bought the opulent digs for $200 million.

The out-of-town firm is partnering with Watermark Retirement Communities, an Arizona-based company that manages elder housing, to convert the 285-unit structure into high-end living for oldsters, renaming it The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights.

Its new owners did not reveal specific details of their plan for the property, but it will be the first of its kind in Brooklyn. Two other pairs of developers are erecting similar complexes in Manhattan that include amenities such as farm-to-table dining and a care staff that can book tickets to Broadway shows, according to a Bloomberg report.

And the building, which was built in the 1920s, is no stranger to extravagance. It used to be the Leverich Towers Hotel, a luxurious lodge where Dodgers players stayed during home games, before the Witnesses bought it for a little under $2 million in 1975 and turned it into a dormitory for members.

It’s not the first area hotel sold by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, which relocated its headquarters from Brooklyn to upstate New York and offloaded several properties the organization acquired since it arrived in the borough in 1909.

In 2007, the religious group sold the former Standish Arms Hotel — which is now a luxury condo complex — and then hawked the nearby Bossert Hotel, a historic lodge that is being reborn as a swanky inn following its years as housing for Witnesses members.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill